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Skateboard your bike to a better classic kick

Wed, Aug  11, 2010 - By Greg Rudl

What do you do when your rear derailleur brakes off and you’re a long way from home? Work on your classic kick.

I was out for a leisurely ride with my wife when the Shimano 105 rear derailleur of my Raleigh road bike snagged in the spokes and ultimately broke off. Boy, was I mad: we were miles from home and this was the second time it’s happened.

I told my wife to pedal back home and bring the car and I would sit on the curb, sulk and wait for her return.  Then I thought, “Why should this be the end to my workout?  I’ll try to get back home on my own.”  So I strung the chain up and started walking with my bike at brisk pace.  I figured I could at least coast down the hills.

For kicks, I started to push off with my leg to gain momentum.  After doing it a few times, I realized that it was similar to the kick in classic skiing. It worked well on the flats and even the up hills. I gripped the handlebars tight and braced myself, getting a good upper body workout in the process.  I was back at home in no time.

Check out the video of this simple technique.  I don’t recommend doing it with high-end road shoes because you need a soft sole to grip the ground.

Make sure you work both sides and watch that you don’t scrape your leg on the pedal.

Greg Rudl was a former member of the Ohio Nordics who now lives in Washington D.C. He spent  15 years on the Ohio National Guard Biathlon Team before retiring last season.